Small in size, big in power: this is how we could define the new flagship of the Asus smartphone range. Contrary to a large part of the industry, Asus puts forward a terminal with the smallest possible screen, since its champion incorporates a panel of “only” 5.9 inches diagonally (12.7 cm ). High-end terminal requires, its heart beats to the rhythm of Qualcomm’s most powerful SoC, the Snapdragon 888.
Technical sheet at the top
Nothing is cheap in this terminal. Alongside the Snapdragon 888, we find 8 GB to 16 GB of LPDDR5 RAM (depending on the version), 128 GB to 256 GB of storage in UFS 3.1 (the fastest mobile flash memory chip standard) and the nec plus ultra OLED panels from Samsung (Diamond Pixel). With a 20: 1 ratio, this 5.9-inch screen displays 2400 x 1080 dots at 120 Hz, benefits from a response time of 1 ms, a contrast ratio of 1 million to 1, a brightness of 1100 cd / m² and is protected by Corning’s best performing glass, Gorilla Glass Victus.
As for colors, the promise is good: coverage of 112% of the DCI-P3 space and, 115% of the sRGB and a Delta E of 1. This last value, calibrated at the factory, corresponds to an excellent screen with very faithful colors. – few PC screens benefit from such precision. Under the slab, a fingerprint reader. And on the side, removable memory point, but a double slot for SIM cards.
Even the audio has been the subject of special attention with, for the electronic part, a duo of amplifier chips from Cirrus Logic (CS35L45). Chips coupled with a variety of sound improvement software from the laboratories of the Swedes in Dirac. And as an unexpected gift, a magnificent 3.5-inch jack plug.
If Asus has been intractable when it comes to the quality of the components, the Taiwanese has however had to give up some equipment: wireless charging point and only two camera modules. It must be said that there is not a cubic millimeter lost in this little Thumb.
The challenges of such deep integration
If most terminal presentations are similar, that of the new terminal from Asus was undoubtedly the most geek of recent years. Wanting to highlight the challenges faced by its engineers for such a thorough integration, Asus has not been stingy in detail.
The motherboard, for example, is a design model. Split in two, it is designed on two layers and relies on an interposer with 618 connection points to transmit information from one part to another. A complex design, derived from Asus’ know-how in PC motherboards (the Taiwanese is the world champion of the genre).
The 4000 mAh battery is also a little gem. To prevent the load from overheating in such a confined space, the battery does not charge at one end but at the middle. This distributes the heat better.
The positive side of this integration is a really compact terminal, with all the punch of a very high-end smartphone. But this choice of compactness had a negative impact on one component: the photo part.
The photo in the background
Accepting its rank as a “small” brand in the world of smartphones, Asus has set back ambitions in the area of image. With barely a few dozen engineers for the photo part and given the limited space available in the terminal, Asus played it classic for the Zenfone 8.
The two camera modules on the back of the device are known modules. The main camera is a 26mm f / 1.8 equivalent equipped with the Sony IMX686 64 Mpix sensor (16 Mpix output). The second is a small 12 Mpix ultra wide-angle, a 14 mm equivalent that serves a Sony IMX363.
No avalanche of camera module or latest generation sensors, giant or not (as at Xiaomi), as much for lack of space as of resources. Asus claims however to have taken care of the image processing, added a night mode with a reduced noise level, offers AF on all modules (yes, even the front one), a pro mode, the management of RAW files and a interface customization mode. On the video side, the 8K30p is there (on the main module) as well as the 4K60p.
Failing to be able to offer the best hardware side, Asus has therefore taken care of the software. It remains to be seen whether this will suffice for the clientele.
Zenfone 8 flip, the other flagship
Alongside the different versions of the Zenfone 8 (see end of the article), Asus is launching another terminal which uses the codes of the previous flagship, the Zenfone 7 Pro: it is the Zenfone 8 Flip. If it has a technically less efficient screen (90 Hz and not 120 Hz, etc.), this terminal is nevertheless very well equipped with the same Snapdragon 888 processor.
Responding more to the current canons with its triple camera module (rotating, Flip requires) and its 6.67 ” panel, it is not for all that the top of the range of the brand: ” it is the classic Zenfone 8 which is our flagship », Explains Asus.
High end, but not too much
The Zenfone 8 will be available in three versions:
– 8GB of RAM / 128GB of storage at € 699
– 8GB of RAM / 256GB of storage at 749 €
– 16GB of RAM / 256GB of storage at 819 €
As for the Zenfone 8 Flip, only one version will be available in France, a model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB which will be launched at € 799.
Also to discover in video:
Also to discover in video:
Asus also wants to be better said on the equipment side since the terminals will be delivered with the 30W fast charger, the attached USB-C cable as well as a protective shell developed in partnership with Rhinoshield – the version for the Zenfone 8 Flip even has a camera module protection flap opening detection chip.
These prices are very far from the competition, some terminals like the latest Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra being 50% more expensive. By limiting references, accepting its less ambitious R&D in certain areas such as photography and focusing on the integration of quality components (its core business), Asus is making the Snapdragon 888 technological proposal the cheapest on the market. A bet that could pay off with those who have had enough of giant phones over 1000 euros.